Post-Game: Flat Flames clobbered by Coyotes

The addition of the five day break into every National Hockey League club’s schedule this season has had its fans and detractors. On one hand, having five days off to rest mid-season is good for players. On the other hand, teams have generally been awful coming out of the break.

The Calgary Flames were no exception to this trend, following up a pretty good first period with an awful second and flat third en route to a 5-0 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. Caught in the midst of a playoff chase, these were two points that the Flames absolutely could not afford to give away.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames came out of the gates a little flat and, admittedly, neither team was particularly sharp early on. Calgary nearly gave up an early one, as Chad Johnson got tangled up with Mark Giordano behind the net and had to physically dive across his crease to make a save. The Coyotes opened the scoring around seven minutes into the game off a scrambley face-off loss for the Flames fourth line and a weird bounce off the boards. Martin Hanzal went to the net and deflected a Radim Vrbata shot past Johnson to make it 1-0. From that point on, the Flames were all over the Coyotes. They ended up out-shooting Arizona 19-9 in the first and were tremendously unlucky to be down after 20.

The wheels fell off for the Flames in the second period, erasing the momentum they got from that very good last 12 minutes of the first. The story of the first half of the period was as follows:

  • The Flames would enter the Coyotes zone with the puck and try to generate a scoring chance.
  • The Flames would fail to execute on a scoring chance and turn the puck over.
  • The Coyotes would enter the Flames zone with speed and/or numbers.
  • The Coyotes would score.

Christian Dvorak made it 2-0 off the rush, as the Flames defenders gave him plenty of time and space in the high slot to get a wrister off. Jordan Martinook buried a big bounce off the corner boards off a Ryan White dump-in from the neutral zone to make it 3-0. Midway through the period, White made it 4-0, deflecting a Luke Schenn point shot.

The Flames shuffled up their lines after the third goal. Johnny Gaudreau was put with Matt Stajan and Garnet Hathaway. Micheal Ferland joined Sean Monahan and Troy Brouwer. T.J. Brodie with put with Deryk Engelland, while Brett Kulak was put with Wideman. It didn’t really translate to very much in the second period. Shots were 14-8 for Arizona.

Dvorak added his second in a rather dull and uneventful third period to make it 5-0 for the Coyotes. Shots were 9-9.

WHY THE FLAMES LOST

After a first period where the Flames were buzzing, they came out completely flat in the second period and the Coyotes made them pay for it. Arizona may not be incredibly high in the standings, but the Flames seemed absolutely befuddled by their speed and passing in the second period.

THE TURNING POINT

We’ve written about the Flames’ tendency to “crumble” when they get down a couple goals this season. They were down by one after a really solid first period. They allowed the proverbial “next goal” early in the second, and utterly collapsed in on themselves. Again.

RED WARRIOR

It’s completely lost in a game like this, but Kris Versteeg was very good in the first and his line was easily Calgary’s best overall.

THE NUMBERS

(Percentage stats are even strength. Game score is overall. Data via Natural Stat Trick.)

Player Corsi
For%
O-Zone
Start%
Game
Score
Frolik 75.0 44.4 0.200
Tkachuk 73.7 44.4 0.010
Chiasson 70.8 71.4 0.650
Backlund 70.6 44.4 0.020
Versteeg 69.6 83.3 0.895
Bennett 65.4 75.0 0.635
Engelland 61.3 62.5 -0.025
Giordano 60.0 64.3 0.700
Hamilton 58.3 64.3 0.275
Gaudreau 57.1 62.5 0.425
Brodie 55.6 54.6 -0.250
Kulak 54.6 37.5 0.075
Wideman 51.3 36.4 -0.250
Monahan 50.0 70.0 0.385
Brouwer 46.2 77.8 0.175
Stajan 42.9 16.7 -0.335
Hathaway 39.1 16.7 -0.325
Ferland 29.2 44.4 -0.800
Johnson -1.100
Elliott 0.050

THIS AND THAT

The game arguably peaked during the pre-game, as the Flames (a) had a moment of silence to commemorate the passing of Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch and (b) involved 10 brand-new Canadians in the singing of O Canada.

Down in Boston, Harvard beat Boston University 6-3 to win the Beanpot. It’s their first Beanpot win since 1993, ending the Boston University/Boston College stranglehold on the title. Flames prospect Adam Fox had a goal and an assist in the victory.

QUOTABLE

“I just think we started to press a little bit and they had more jump. It was kind of a carbon copy of every game that’s come out of these breaks. You come out with a lot of energy, and then you lack execution later in the game.” – Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan on his team’s performance.

“It shouldn’t be any excuse. We had a practice, we had a morning skate. We should’ve been able to bury some of our chances here and execute better. You just gotta find a way to get that done.” – Gulutzan on his club’s lack of execution coming off the break.

UP NEXT

The Flames (28-26-3) practice tomorrow and then are back in game action on Wednesday night when they host the Philadelphia Flyers.

  • freethe flames

    BT needs to shake up this team. I’m not going to dwell on last night but look at the results of a number of recent games: NJ at home listless effort, Oilers at home crap effort, Toronto and Montreal on the road crap efforts and last night garbage. This team is not talented enough, not gritty enough and does not get good enough goaltending. The coaching staff does not seem to be willing to adapt (they keep playing Wideman and Brouwer) and don’t seem demanding enough; GG’s little tantrum a few weeks ago was mild compared to what needed to be done. Yet somehow this team remains in the hunt for a playoff spot.

    I have said for a long time if the Flames need to play both Wideman and Eng’s every night then they are not a play off team. Unless BT can find an upgrade at RHD in the next week to replace Wideman then we likely miss the playoffs or GG has to grow some B*lls and admit that TJ is better on the RS and that he was wrong and bench Wides.

    We are in year 4 of the rebuild. Our farm team looks like it will miss the playoffs again; so there is something wrong with our drafting or development or both. Other than our top picks over the last 4 years we have seen none given a real chance at the big club; instead we have seen placeholders under perform. At this point I would rather watch kids make a mistake than watch placeholders make the same mistakes. If BT can’t trade to fill our obvious needs then lets see what prospects can offer. Time to see what Janko, Hunter, Klimchuk and Spoon can do. It can’t be any worse than the Hamilton(F), Bouma, Wides, Brouwer, Versteeg and Chiasson. Maybe they will add some life into this group.

    • Misterbator

      I agree that time is of the essence here. Rebuilds that never get off the ground are really sad to witness, but I am not sure if this season is one in which the Flame’s chances of success are torpedoed.

      Let’s see what the roster looks like without the likes of Wideman, I completely agree that a bunch of players need to take a walk.

      I hope Treliving can inject a Dougie type deal to push this sucker along a bit faster especially when you consider that our captain is not a spring fowl.

      As it stands now, however, we are still full of holes, I am afraid.

    • Stan

      1) You can’t really just cherry pick bad games like that and then not even mention the good ones. What about the games against MIN, NJ and PIT? Even the loss to the NYR was close. This team is just incredibly inconsistent, I mean, even last nights game was a microcosm of that. We should have been up by 3 or 4 after the first but then looked pretty awful in the final 2 periods.

      2) Agree about Wideman. You have to think that it’s a mandate from upstairs to play him because of his contract/showcase/whatever. Even GG dropped him to the bottom pair last night.

      3) Don’t think you can blame the side Brodie is playing on anymore. He has looked like the Brodie of old lately playing on the LS. Thought he was unreal in the first last night, as well as before the break.

      4) I’m honestly starting to think WW may be right and Huska has to go. The only players we have been graduating have been top picks that don’t even play in the AHL at all… I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing some of our farm players, but not at the cost of Versteeg or Chiasson. Don’t know why you’d put their names in that grouping.

  • buts

    If you look at BT’s overall nhl career….his history of great teams in arizona (not), his free agent signings which are a C- at best, his roster which has no identity, no goaltenders, his coach hiring which again is questionable considering GG’s history, his not dealing wideman as we overpay him and get screwed by the refs game in and game out and his cap management which again is bad. Combine all this and it’s no wonder he has yet to be signed to an extension. Is he gonna make the team a power again? I’m thinking maybe not.

    • Jakethesnail

      Right. He has not been able to fix the goaltending issues, and he has had this team right up against the cap and has not been able to do anything about it .
      He hired a coach with no NHL experience and let Hartley go when he got this team to the playoffs by getting everything he could out of each player.

      At the time of Gulutzan’s hiring there were many coaches available with NHL experience.

      It’s my bet that Treleving will not be extended if this team does not make the playoffs.